Frama is the original celtic word for Frome, it means flow of the river. When I first opened the shop with Andy, we were scratching our heads to think of a name and we heard this word Frama that was used to describe the sound of the river flowing, and it just felt perfect, so after checking it definitely meant that we went with it.
We opened about four years ago, so did one year without the pandemic, which was absolutely fantastic, but to be honest actually the community support was awesome during the pandemic. We ran a little stall out in front of the store and we really connected with our customers doing that. The direction of my shop is changing a bit, I’m trying to go towards working with more local suppliers and looking for more transparency and personality, and personal relationships, which is part of why I’ve enjoyed working with Round Hill more and more. There’s a relationship there and I know where the coffee comes from and who’s roasting it. I think that’s important to me but also something my customers really recognise and resonate with. A big thing for me is acknowledging the locality of the space, being able to sell products like Round HIll, and I’ve started to get things like Full Court Press and Sweven, those small roasters that are local to the shop and are all doing a really great job and being transparent about what they’re doing. So I can have a conversation with Lawrence at Full Court Press or Jimmy at Sweven and they’ll say what’s tasting good and where it comes from, how to brew it.
We opened with a Decent and an EK43, that was the backbone of the whole shop. The Decent, as much as I have a love-hate relationship with it, is really integral to how I approach coffee, being able to experiment with coffees and try things like pulling shots with only 3 bars of pressure. At the moment we’re using a Round Hill Kenyan that I’ve probably opened up and pulled longer than a lot of people would, but I really like the sort of soft raspberry note that I’m getting from it. I met Andy Carter at Rye Bakery, and he introduced me to a different approach to coffee. I’d been working in hospitality for 13 years, mainly working in high volume restaurants, and my understanding of coffee and coffee service was all from that kind of front. Andy basically pushed me to have a bit more of a knowledge base, showed me which books to read etc.
Most traditional coffee shops will have a massive coffee machine and a couple of grinders on the bar, that the barista is somewhat hidden behind, but with a Decent and an EK there’s not a lot between the customer and the person serving. Also the shop, being pretty small and intimate and not having any power points, it kind of forces communality and conversation. The set up can be kind of confrontational to people who expect certain norms from a coffee shop, but I try to make it as, sort of, democratic as possible, I just want people to try the coffee. I’ve recently gotten rid of all the menu staples like cappuccino and flat white and now it just says espresso with milk, and I’ve actually found it helps because, it’s as conversation point but also when some people kind of trip over that, you can gauge where they are at in their coffee journey.